The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is an international treaty which was adopted and signed in 1982. It replaced the four Geneva Conventions of April, 1958, which respectively concerned the territorial sea and the contiguous zone, the continental shelf, the high seas, fishing and conservation of living resources on the high seas.

The Convention has created three new institutions on the international scene :

– the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea,

– the International Seabed Authority,

– the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.